I have had an emotional connection to Street Fighter since I was 13 years old.
It was early March 1991, and my friend and I were celebrating his 14th birthday in Santa Cruz, California, spending as much of our weekend at the boardwalk arcade as possible. His mom gave us a $20 bill for the change machine, and we determined to stretch our room as much as we could.
Scrolling like brawlers Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Final fight are our favorite games. We also love squaring off in what I consider to be the first true fighting game, the buttonless, Robotron-style, twin-joysticked Karate Champ.
When we arrived a Street Fighter II: The Fighter of the World cab sitting in the middle of the arcade, we stopped dead in our tracks. Everything about it, from the six buttons per player to the many dynamic sprites and backgrounds, felt larger than life to our teenage brains.
As we stood there, amazed and a little scared of the machine, the floor manager arrived with some guests. He turned to his guests and said, “We are new to this game. I think it’s going to be huge”. Uh, yeah.
Street Fighter II an event. That single game in the middle of the arcade floors would multiply in rows, with lines stretching behind each one, people waiting to put their quarter in the glass to “follow.” It seemed like everyone was playing it, and when the home console ports hit (we were SNES players), that felt even more real.
Over time, the hype faded. I left for college, got married, started a family and a career, and lost touch with the friends I used to play with. Arcades often die or become shells of their former selves. But I never lost my love for Street Fighter, even though my time with it was mostly associated with MAME.
Nearly two decades after losing a strong connection to fighting games, I rekindled my interest. I picked it up Street Fighter 4and I became a bit serious Street Fighter 5 player. I played online, locally with friends, and started traveling occasionally to compete.
I sold most of my pinball machines (once an arcade rat, always an arcade rat) and started collecting Japanese “candy cabinet” arcade machines. I now have four Sega Astro Cities, two Taito Vewlixes, a Konami Windy, and a Neo Candy 29, mostly dedicated to fighting games. I started playing titles that I didn’t get during my absence, like Street Fighter III: Third Strike. My friends and I still play with our favorite flavors Street Fighter II, also, Super Turbo (or as we call it, St).
The sixth time is the charm
As I got older, I found that I liked to share my hobbies as much as I enjoyed them myself. Fighting games aren’t just fun to play and watch; they are part of a vibrant and diverse community. I want more people to enjoy them.
They also have a reputation for being more complicated than ever Street Fighter II days—they can be very intimidating and difficult to learn. No one wants to buy a new game and feel like the only thing to do is jump online and destroy someone who has been playing for years.
entry Street Fighter 6.